Spotted Lanternfly seen in Juniata Park. “Kill It!”

This Spotted Lanternfly is pictured on the 4400 block of O Street in Juniata. Photo Courtesy Nyra Z.

“Kill it! Squash it, smash it…just get rid of it. ” That’s the message from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture regarding the presence of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly.

Native to the countries of China, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, the Spotted Lanternfly was first seen in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has spread across 14 counties here, including Philadelphia. This week, several sightings have been reported in Juniata Park, including on the 4400 block of Malta Street, 4400 block of O Street, and in the park off Cayuga Street.

“The Spotted Lanternfly causes serious damage in trees including oozing sap, wilting, leaf curling, and tree dieback, according to the PA Department of Agriculture. “In addition to tree damage, when spotted lanternflies feed, they excrete a sugary substance, called honeydew, that encourages the growth of black sooty mold. This mold is harmless to people, however it causes damage to plants.”

This fall, the bugs are expected to lay egg masses with 30-50 eggs each, so it’s important to kill as many of them as possible now to help save the trees in the neighborhood.

Penn State Extension, which has been on top of this crisis, reported that the state Department of Agriculture is encouraging all residents to watch for the spotted lanternfly. They report that the department suggests the following:

If you see eggs: Scrape them off the tree or smooth surface, double bag them, and throw them in the trash or place the eggs in alcohol or hand sanitizer to kill them.

If you collect a specimen: Turn the adult specimen or egg mass in to the department’s entomology lab for verification. First, place the sample in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak-proof container.

If you take a photo: Submit photos of adults or egg masses to badbug@pa.gov.

If you see a site: Call the Bad Bug hotline at 1-866-253-7189 with details of the site and your contact information.

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